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Warehouse retailer Costco suffered a blow last week when the New York judge presiding over the "Costco slurpee lawsuit," a slip and fall action brought by 74-year-old Theresa Danza, denied the company's motion to move the suit to Florida.
Visiting a Costco in North Miami, Fl., Ms. Danza suffered spinal and shoulder injuries when she "slipped on a slurpee that was all over the floor" and "went flying...up in the air."
She chose to sue in New York, where she currently resides.
Putting aside the fact that Costco is not known to sell slurpees, Theresa Danza appears to have brought a typical slip and fall suit. The only major dispute at this point seems to be the parties' disagreement as to where that lawsuit belongs.
Both Florida and New York technically have jurisdiction over the Costco slurpee lawsuit. Florida can claim jurisdiction as the events occurred in-state. New York has jurisdiction because Costco does business within the state and Ms. Danza is a resident.
When such a situation arises and the parties disagree as to venue, the court is tasked with balancing the arguments proffered by both sides and determining which forum would be more just.
Costco argued in favor of moving the lawsuit to Florida, focusing on the site of the injury and the location of witnesses.
However, the presiding judge determined that it would be difficult for Ms. Danza to travel to Florida. And while it would be costly to fly her medical witnesses down south, as a large company, Costco is able to afford the costs associated with transporting its employee-witnesses to New York.
Unless the company appeals, the Costco slurpee lawsuit will remain in New York, even though the Theresa Danza was injured in Florida.